Making the Connection: Where am I? What do I hear/smell/see/feel?


Osiyo~

It gives me such pleasure to introduce you all to fellow Wild Rose Press author, and my friend, Lyndi Alexander! 

                                                    Making the Connection: Where am I? What do I hear/smell/see/feel?

By Lyndi Alexander

Whenever I hear locusts keening, I am immediately transported to summer afternoons visiting my grandmother’s Indiana farm. Once I’m on that voyage, I can feel the humidity on my skin, hear the creak of the porch swing, see the beautiful rich green of the corn fields, and experience the feeling of that vacation freedom once again. That single sound can create a whole escape for me wherever and whenever I hear it.

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This is what we’re shooting for as writers; that ability to trip a trigger that takes a reader beyond just the description of words into a complete experience. Sense-memory is a great vehicle to get in touch with the human experience, so many of them that we share. Half the work’s done for you if you can hit the right trigger.

Imagine the smell of ginger cookies baking. What does that bring up for you? I’m sure it’s not the same for everyone, but it may trigger memories, rolling over into a complete experience that your reader will take along into your story. Is it grandmother’s kitchen, a feeling of safety, that childhood sense of expectation? Is that what you’re going for in your scene? Maybe that’s enough. Your character is nervous about living in a new apartment building, but stops outside the neighbor’s apartment to inhale the spicy aroma of fresh-baking cookies, allowing his senses—and the reader’s—to cuddle him into that safe, warm place.

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Maybe that’s not where you’re going.

Depending on the groundwork you’ve laid, it could be possible that your character connects fresh-baked cookies with something very different, perhaps something much darker. What if your character’s mother only baked after psychotic breaks when she viciously abused her children? Obviously his reaction will be very different. That probably plays against your reader’s comfort zone, which generates a new stream of thinking that helps them relate with your individual story.

That moment of connection often happens when we hear a particular song. Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” debuted during my first month of law school. All I need to hear are those first notes and I “reappear” on the U of Miami campus, a single mom beginning classes after six years out of school, unsure what the heck I’m doing with myself.  What about the songs they played at your wedding? At the reception, when you had your first dance? While you can’t print a song’s entire lyrics without proper permissions, titles are fair game, and can set a mood.

How about “Pomp and Circumstance”? Can’t you feel the pageantry of a graduation? Or any one of a number of athletic fight songs? Plop you down right in the middle of a sports event. “Here Comes the Bride?” Blessing or nightmare, depending on the marital status of your character and if she’s the one in the horrible orange bridesmaid dress!

All the senses apply—don’t forget the chill of an unheated basement, shadows dark in the corners, maybe damp walls with green mold growing on them, or a desert heat so hot the dry air sucks your breath away.  Good description of place and setting, using all the senses, increase the chances that you will reach right into a reader’s heart and background and create that full, rounded picture of a place and time.

In Lyndi Alexander’s latest urban fantasy book, THE ELF MAGE, she uses her setting, the Bitterroot Mountains of western Montana, to help create both blessings and obstacles for her characters as they deal with the environment and the frozen winter months, both humans and elves. Find out more at her blog http://lyndialexander.wordpress.com/  THE ELF MAGE is available in ebook and print at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and other resources—find them all here: http://www.dragonflypubs.com/dfp/elfmage.html

Excerpt:

An unknown time later, Daven’s attention wandered back into present focus when someone called his name.

            Daven….where are you? I need to find you.

            The voice was female, soft, whispery, like a lover. His thoughts wrapped around the voice, just a mental touch. Whoever called was not with him in the cave. He knew it, even without opening his eyes. But she was persistent.

            Daven, please!

            Who could be calling? Linnea’s spirit? Veraena? Djana? Who would seek him out? I am here.

            I’m coming. The voice was tentative, unsure. I need you.

            Daven considered the flavor of the voice, the tendrils of personality that attached to it. His earlier thoughts of Veraena didn’t fit with the tone of the request. Even in her younger days, she’d been a force to reckon with. This contact seemed much less sure of herself. Not Djana, either, then.

            Daven?

            He sensed a soul traveling through the woods, feet heavy in thick-soled boots, leaning on a heavy stick to help her through the deep snow over the rough parts. Where was she? He couldn’t see through her eyes, but he could feel her feelings. She was afraid, sure she was lost, far from home, and determined to find him. Then he knew.

            Iris.

*****

You can find Lyndi on the web at these locations; http://clanelvesofthebitterroot.com  or http://lyndialexander.wordpress.com

and buy her book; http://www.dragonflypubs.com/dfp/elfmage.html

Thank you for coming to the ranch, Lyndi! This is a great post. Don’t ya’ll agree? Care to share your inspirations with us?

Dodadagohvi~

 

 

 

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About Calisa Rhose

I'm a mother of three daughters, five granddaughters, and wife to a wonderfully supportive man. I began writing warm you to the bones romance as a teen, and the addiction has now morphed into a life of its own. I became a published author in May 2011! I create art and jewelry with polymer clay and beads to relax and sew for fun. See my craft and sewing projects at http://fancifulallure.wordpress.com

Posted on 02/28/2012, in inspirations, Promotion, The Wild Rose Press and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Thank you for visiting the ranch today, Lyndi!

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  2. Loved the post and the advice on sensory details. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. Thank you all for your kind words!

    Babs aka Lyndi aka Alana…. (some days I don’t even know who I am!!)

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  4. Loved this post. I just finished working on adding sensory details to a middle grade novel I’m editing, so this is very timely for me.

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  5. I agree, and I enjoyed your post. The five senses are important in writing to bring the author along with you for the ride. Best of luck with your book.

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  6. Great post! It’s so important to include all the senses when we write. I enjoyed your excerpt too.Congrats!

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  7. Lovely post. I love using the five senses in writing. That integration of senses and emotions draws us deeper into the point of view of the character. Wishing you great sales.

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  8. Great post. I have Total Eclipse of the Heart and Holding out for a Hero on my IPod. Perfect mood music for when I hit a certain spot in my writing.

    Good luck with your book!

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  9. Great blog! Thanks for bringing into focus so many memories. I have a sudden hankering to bake cookies. 🙂

    Best wishes with your book – I have a feeling it is very well written.

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  10. Hi, Lyndi: Great post! A book just doesn’t come alive for me unless I’m engaged with all my senses :-).

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  11. After I read it again, Calisa, I remembered you’re exactly right! I write for TWRP under the pen name Alana Lorens, and I do have a new release coming in June. But thank you so much for featuring me as your guest today, and thanks, too, Christine for coming by. 🙂

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    • I hope I didn’t give anything away! I didn’t know you were Lyndi with one or the other and Alana with the other. Now I do and as either person, I’m thrilled to have you here today!

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  12. Good morning Christine! Thanks for being first today.

    I should note this IS NOT a WRP release.
    Lyndi IS a wrp author, but not with this book/series. 🙂

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  13. Enjoyed your post Lyndi…could feel a lot of what you were saying. Getting those feeling across in my writing is something I love and something I totally enjoy when I’m reading someone else’s work.

    Great excerpt…the mystery of it all drew me right in.

    Congrats on your release. It’s always great to meet another WRP author!

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  1. Pingback: I’ve been busy this week! « Lyndi Alexander and her worlds of fancy

  2. Pingback: How can we connect to a place in our reading and writing? – Clan Elves of the Bitterroot

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